Man United vs Villarreal
Manchester United’s Champions League hopes are raised thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics.
Manchester United rallied from a goal behind to beat Villarreal 2-1 at Old Trafford in the Champions League Group F matchup on Wednesday. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in stoppage time.
The 36-year-old Portugal international saved his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from yet another sad result on the night he set the competition record for the most appearances.
After Paco Alcacer’s 53rd-minute opener, United trailed 1-0 before Alex Telles’ stunning volley pulled them level. However, the Red Devils failed to capitalize on their advantage.
In their last four games, United have suffered three defeats, including a shocking 1-0 loss to Young Boys in Bern in their group opener.
It was a close game for lengthy periods of time, but the visitors could have won it by halftime if they had been more clinical in front of goal.
Having beaten Solskjaer’s team on penalties in the Europa League final the year before, Unai Emery’s side brought their great organization and ability to break down and trouble a disjointed United side once more.
The absence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw from United’s defense allowed the team to be exposed multiple times in the first half, with Diogo Dalot having an especially tough time.
After cutting in from the left flank, Arnaut Danjuma harassed United’s right back and twice challenged David De Gea.
Raphael Varane’s error allowed Alcacer to find himself one-on-one with De Gea, but the striker blazed over the crossbar.
While both teams had chances to go in front early,
Villarreal took the lead when Alcacer capped off a counterattack by turning in Danjuma’s low cross.
A wonderfully executed free-kick from Bruno Fernandes found Telles on the left flank,
and the Brazilian volleyed home a perfect volley seven minutes later to give United hope.
Despite Edinson Cavani’s wasted opportunity to give United the lead, the hosts held on after a goalmouth scramble that saw Villarreal’s Boulaye Dia go close.
As time expired, Ronaldo headed the ball to Jesse Lingard,
who delivered it back to the Portuguese striker, who finished it off with a tap-in.
Ronaldo ripped off his shirt and threw it into the fans as Old Trafford exploded in relief and excitement. He was given a yellow card for his actions.
Young Boys and Manchester United are tied for second place in the group behind Atalanta, who have four points. With just one point, Villarreal are at the bottom of the table.
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